Mental health amongst men is still not really spoken about as much as it should be, as this is seen as a weakness by so many. Fortunately, times are changing and there are various platforms for men to find help. If you want to learn about how to deal with stress, then this post is just for you!
One of the biggest mental health problems in this day and age is that dreaded word: STRESS
Stressing is something all human beings do, and learning how to manage stress plays a big part in our health and state of being.
It’s been scientifically proven that stress downgrades the genes and can cause diseases in the long term.
In layman’s terms, stressing can and will make you physically sick.
Human beings can turn on the stress response just by thought alone. When we think about our problems, we turn on those chemicals which in turn can have an effect on our physical health.
In a nutshell, your thoughts can make you sick.
Think about it, whenever you are really stressed for an extended period of time, you often start feeling physically unwell around the same time.
This isn’t an accident!
It’s because of stress.
The good news, though, is that just as your thoughts can make you sick or ill, they can also heal you and make you healthy!
You just need to be able to channel your thoughts away from the negative side and towards the positive side!
As men we need to learn to deal with stress.
Stressful situations and things which make us stress will never ever go away, so we need to learn how to deal with these things the best way possible.
What Is The Definition Of Stress?
Stress is when your brain and body are knocked out of balance / equilibrium.
Human beings can all sustain short term stress, but long term stress is when you turn on the stress response when a certain event has occurred and then you either cant or you fail turn it off again.
The long term stress is the one that we really all need to learn to deal with.
Knowing how to deal with stress is an important part of life, if not one of the most important parts.
Let’s take a quick look at basic examples of short term versus long term stress.
Example of short term stress:
You driving down the road and someone cuts you off. Your initial response is to swear and show them the finger, but after you while you forget the events and your stress response chemicals disappear.
Your body deals with it fine, and the stress is gone within a matter of minutes.
Example of long term stress:
Your co-worker irritates you on a daily basis and your stress response is activated when you speak to or even when you just see him or her. On top of that, you don’t enjoy your job at all.
You stay in this long term stress mode for a few hours on end, and it’s on your mind constantly.
What Are The Most Common Forms Of Stress?
Below are a few common things we always stress about:
- Emotional problems (depression, anxiety, anger, grief, guilt, low self-esteem, judgement)
- Loss of a loved one
- Financial worries
- Chronic illness and injury
- Loss of a job, or potential loss of a job
- The future and its uncertainty
The most common forms of stress are almost always related to financial or emotional problems.
A thought leads to an emotion and as mentioned above, emotions such as depression, anxiety, grief, guilt, judgement of other people and a low self esteem are all negative emotions which cause long term stress.
The good news is that emotional stress is mostly caused by ourselves.
Because they are controlled by us, they can be reversed by implementing various techniques as mentioned below.
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1. Meditation & Breathing Exercises
I personally do meditation and breathing exercises after I wake up in the morning. I recommend doing this before looking at your cellphone, having your morning coffee or getting to work.
For breathing exercises, I follow the Wim Hof Guided Breathing Method which will take you roughly 10 minutes, but its an amazing way to start your day.
If you aren’t aware of mr Wim Hof’s breathing, then check out this video and learn more about it!
As for meditation, this quick introduction video explains how to get started.
Now meditating is really difficult and requires discipline and practice, but it’s a really good way to reduce stress.
Physical training reduces levels of the body’s stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol.
It also stimulates the production of endorphins, which are chemicals in the brain that are the body’s natural painkillers and mood elevators.
Morning workouts are a good way to start your day and get your energy levels right up there.
We are always trying out different ways to stay fit, and we often post our very own bodyweight workouts!
Make sure to give them a read.
3. Practice More Yoga
Yoga is a mind-body practice that combines physical poses, controlled breathing, and meditation or relaxation.
It helps reduce stress, lower blood pressure and lower your heart rate.
Now yoga is still seen by many men as a more female oriented form of exercise, but it’s actually a lot tougher than you think!
Start off with a few basic yoga poses, and take it from there.
4. Work Less Hours
Some of the many causes of work related stress include long hours.
Its been proven that human mind can only focus on average 4 hours per day productively, yet most of us work 40 hour week jobs.
It’s important that you take leave often so that you can unwind and de-stress or even better, get out of the rat race and start working on your own passion projects!
5. Have a Purpose & Do Something Meaningful
Waking up everyday with a purpose to do something that’s meaningful to you plays one of the most important roles in reducing stress levels.
Human beings are meant to full fill a purpose in life, and it’s our duty to find and pursue that in order to give meaning to our lives.
If you feel like you are just going though the motions on a daily basis, then you need to stop and make a change!
6. Healthy Diet
Eating healthy, drinking lots of water and cutting down on excessive alcohol consumption can significantly reduce the levels of stress in your body.
It is therefore important to plan and prepare healthy meals instead of just getting fast food take out every day, which will give you less energy and increase your stress levels.
A good way to eat a bit more in a healthy manner is to cook your own food more often than you eat out!
7. Sleep More
Sleep is a very important part in our lives, and is one that is often needed in order to reduce our stress.
Try and get in a good quality sleep every single night.
This can be assisted by not staring at a screen when in bed, and trying to be as relaxed as possible right before you sleep.
8. Manage Your Time
We can’t always get through everything we want to on a daily basis.
Accept the fact that there will be days where you can only do so much.
Edit and prioritize your day, and focus on things that are actually important.
9. Turn Off The News
This might seem like a bit of a weird piece of advice on how to deal with stress, but it really is a good one.
These days, the news is pretty much 99% filled with negativity.
Reading the news cannot make you feel good about life.
It just cannot.
By taking in all the bad things going on in the world every single day, you’ll start to develop long term stress over time.
So do yourself a favor and try stay away from reading the news often.
10. Talk To Someone
It’s so easy to keep everything that’s bothering us bottled up inside. But it’s an important part in dealing with stress.
Keeping stress and anxiety to yourself is never a good idea. And as difficult as it may sound, the best way to beat it is to talk to a friend about how you feel.
Now us men never like to share our feelings! But we need to try, especially when it comes to serious matters such as stress.
It’s important to not be too hard on yourself when you are stressed out.
Rather recognise the stress for what it is and find something that will help you conquer and overcome it.
Finding tools to manage stress and practicing positive thinking will lead to happier and more joyful life.
Keep well and take care!